Monday, September 13, 2010

Tell me what you see...

I have fallen into the bad habit of using lyrics as my titles, so I apologize. Although, it's unlikely that I'll stop doing it either. Every time I sit down and think about what I want to write about, I spend a least a few moments (that feel like minutes) thinking about a title, only because there happens to be space for one, so I must. Then, perhaps because I grew up with a dad who has a song for every topic, no matter how random (and feels the need to sing it too, despite, and probably because of the protests from his children), a song always pops into my head and I can't think of any other title than some lyric that doesn't sound as good read as it does sung (and lately they've all been Beatles songs... because they also have a song for everything).

Anyways, to the point (if there really is one, that's always debatable on my blog and with my stories in general). At Educate!, there are a few terms and ideas that come up repeatedly, like empowerment, goals, proactivity, etc. One that has come up quite a bit lately has been "personal vision." We ask all of our mentors to develop their own personal visions for their futures and to share them constantly and inspire others and so on. So, after all this emphasis we've been putting on personal visions, we (myself and the other program coordinators) really shouldn't have been surprised when, at our last meeting, the mentors demanded that we also share our personal vision!

Now I have to think of one... Or choose one rather. The issue is, and I think this applies to a lot of people, my attention span and my imagination are inversely related (oo, look, I remembered a term from high school math!). I have a massive imagination with an awful tendency to change my mind (or never make it up in the first place, which most of my friends would probably attest to)--so there are about a zillion different unresolved personal visions floating around in my head. That's not to say however, that I haven't been completely and utterly serious about each and every one!

When I was 5 I wanted to be in an all girls version of The Beach Boys, but that dream was crushed when I realized that playing the guitar was hard, I didn't have one, and my parents signed me up for piano lessons instead. When I was 11, I asked for a filing cabinet and a Dictionary of Law for my birthday, because I wanted to start early on my path to becoming a lawyer--then I realized I had nothing to file and dictionaries are boring. When I was 15, I planned on moving to London to join the Royal Ballet School and live happily ever after with Billy Elliot--but then my feet started hurting from the pointe shoes and I had to admit to myself that Billy was a fictional character (sigh)...

Now I'm 22 and my ideas for "when I grow up" (let's face it, that's a long ways away) are just as ridiculous as ever, but I'm just as serious about them. I guess the real issue is that I keep thinking of a "personal vision" as a final destination; that at some point, there's an end to all the planning and visioning and imagining. Maybe that's exactly why I can't think of one. I can't imagine a day where I'm not imagining something else. So what if I had become the best ballerina ever, dancing duets with Bill Elliot; who's to say I would've been content doing that forever? I suppose in reality, I have had a lot of personal visions, and I've realized a lot of them, too (the less... remarkable of them, perhaps).

When I was 5, I watched the older kids in school putting on plays and wished I would get the lead one day--then I did when I was 12 (I played a snooty little brat in a local play; a fantastic role). When I was 11, I decided UVM would be the best school for me, and despite some mind changes along the way, I eventually did go there! At 15, I dreamed of traveling all over the world, and I've kind of been doing that. So I suppose personal visions are realized here and there, and they're less of a ending point than they are a starting point. One leads to another, which leads to another and so on.

So what to tell the mentors? I guess I'll just tell them the next stop on the personal vision train. I want to go back to school (International law? Theatre? Development? undecided...). I want to make and save some money (mm, unlikely). I want to live in New York City (see vision #2). I want to travel (vision #2). And my overarching, long-term, very serious and most important personal vision is to be happy and have fun, which quite obviously impacts all the rest of my visions (I've done remarkably well with this one so far).

Alas, perhaps "Tell Me What You See" wasn't the perfect song choice for this topic, but you know... vision, seeing... it makes sense in my mind anyways. I considered "you never give me your money," but thought that perhaps the lyric I was thinking of sort of contradicted my whole story here ("out of college, money spent, see no future, pay no rent/all the money's gone no where to go").

Moral of the story: I need to stop listening to music when I'm trying to write.

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